I've had the Hauppage HD-PVR for about a week now and tested it in both Gentoo and Debian Sid so I thought I'd post about some of the neat things you can do with this device with Linux.
Following the directions that can found at MythTV
compiling the drivers on both systems was straight forward. Neither the stock Debian kernel nor my custom Gentoo kernel had any problems when I loaded the driver with modprobe, and running...
cat /dev/video0 > video.ts
...did indeed create a file playable with mplayer.
I experimented with both 1080i and 720p output from my STB and did find that playback of 1080i was very slow and barely watchable as I expected from the warning from the mythtv page, but I was also disappointed to see that 720p playback wasn't very good either. Mplayer spit out warnings that my machine was too slow as it struggled to play the file.
I had experienced similar errors playing back h264 video that were resolved by outputting my audio over spdif and letting my receiver decode the audio so I transcoded the audio to ac3 and placed the .ts file in a matroska container with...
ffmpeg -i video.ts -vcodec copy -acodec ac3 -ab 128k -f matroska video.mkv
...and was rewarded with perfect playback!
Cool, I can now record my favorite programs. But what about watching live tv? If ffmpeg can transcode a .ts file and the HD-PVR outputs a .ts file shouldn't ffmpeg be able to transcode the output of the HD-PVR on the fly? I decided to give it a try and opened another xterm.
In the first xterm I ran...
ffmpeg -i /dev/video0 -vcodec copy -acodec ac3 -ab 128k -f matroska video.mkv
...in the second...
...and it worked! Perfect "nearly live" HDTV! Okay, but how to get "really live" TV? The answer, of course, was obvious since I already had the optical out from my STB hooked up to my receiver. Let mplayer decode the video and the receiver handle the audio.
mplayer -ac null /dev/video0